The Night We Never Met

Director: Warren Leight

As difficult as it is to write a successful romantic comedy, it’s even harder to pull off the feat when the couple destined to be together doesn't actually meet for more than brief five second accidental intervals until a final confrontation at the end of the film. However, in the hands of award-winning playwright Warren Leight, it’s not only believable but irresistible with The Night We Never Met. In this deliciously odd but fun character comedy, inspired most likely by the early screwball comedies of Lubitsch and Hawks and especially the film The Shop Around the Corner, a trio of New Yorkers end up sharing an apartment on alternating nights of the week for various reasons and two of the roommates (who’ve never met) begin to fall in love with like-minded notes and kind gestures in their shared home. Brain McVeigh (Kevin Anderson), a successful businessman with a Frat Boy Peter Pan complex gets engaged to fellow WASP Justine Bateman but isn’t fully ready to leave his beloved bachelor pad behind and hires someone to rent it out to two tenants. The first one to sign up for the odd arrangement is Sam Lester (Matthew Broderick), a sensitive man still recovering from a bad breakup with his French, self-obsessed performance artist girlfriend Pastel (a hilarious Jeanne Tripplehorn). When married dental hygienist Ellen (Annabella Sciorra) decides she wants a quiet haven in the city for painting and reading, she joins the agreement without telling her suburban-minded husband, who has made a recent real estate decision on his own as well, purchasing a home in a planned community off the Long Island Expressway without running it by his wife. While we realize that the soulful Ellen isn’t meant to be with her husband, it takes her awhile and a few cute notes and beautifully touching moments as she begins to correspond with her new roommate whom she mistakes for Brian instead of Sam when the apartment’s schedule isn’t updated to come to the same conclusion. And while of course, misunderstandings and missed opportunities ensue and we all know just whom is going to get together, The Night We Never Met is one of those refreshing indie romantic comedies that, although one in a literal sea of angst-plagued twenty to thirty-something tales of romantic woe made by fellow indie minded directors, stands out for its vital turns by not only the leading actors but the great minor turns by Doris Roberts, Dominic Chianese and more. Note: Look for smaller inclusions of Garry Shandling, Bitty Schram, Michael Imperioli, Christine Baranski and Naomi Campbell. The film, available on DVD and often showed on IFC, also received a nomination for the Critics Award at the Deauville Film Festival for Leight.

Songs from the film

“My Baby Just Cares for Me” by Nina Simone

Nina Simone - Nina Simone: Anthology - My Baby Just Cares for Me

“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher” by Jackie Wilson
Jackie Wilson - Jackie Wilson: 20 Greatest Hits - (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher

“When I Need You” by Leo Sayer
Leo Sayer - Very Best of Leo Sayer - When I Need You